Washington now joins Colorado in legalizing marijuana after stores on Tuesday began selling pot for recreational use.
The news is a sore spot for activists trying to get the same law enacted in California. Pot supporters in California are surprised the process has taken so long, especially after a field poll in December found 55 percent of state residents supported the legalization of recreational marijuana.
"California was the first, the leading edge of legalizing medical cannabis," said Dave Hodges of the All American Cannabis Club. "And with the number of activists here, you would think we would've been able to get it done by now."
In 2010, California voters rejected a statewide ballot measure legalizing the sale and taxation of weed.
That same year, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger downgraded possession of up to an ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction.
Supporters tried again this year to get it on this November's ballot, but the groups couldn't agree on what the law should say and ended up with four versions, which killed the momentum and effort.
"The problem with four is it divides the money," Hodges said. "It makes it really hard to get support and get everybody behind one movement."